Smoke generating problems

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smktr, May 14, 2012.

  1. smktr

    smktr Newbie

    Hi all!

    First-time poster here.  Did a lot of research on this site prior to purchasing two MES 30s (one for home, one for work.....).  The only consistent complaint I found in the reviews of the MES were problems generating smoke......enter the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker.  I purchased two, and between work and home, I have done 4 smokes now.  However, the pellet smoker is not producing any smoke at all.  Despite following all directions for the AMNPS, once I put the smoldering pellets in the smoker, they go out.  Two of my smokes have been over 12 hours, and when I pull the meat out, the AMNPS looks untouched, except for the scorch marks where I originally lit it.  That said, I get plenty of smoke out of both wood chips and pellets in the chip tray.  I may just be getting picky here, but I wanted the AMNPS for the ability to generate smoke for 10-12 hours without having to reload the chip tray every 60-90 minutes.  Todd with Amaze-N-Smoke did originally tell me that the pellets "do not perform well at altitude" (I am in Denver), but I get smoke from his pellets quite easily in the chip tray......  Does anyone have any tips/tricks/corrections for me?  I feel like I'm missing something.  Thanks in advance for all the help!
  2. Did you pull the chip loader out an inch or so for more air flow?

  3. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I had similar problems with my first MES.  It had electronics problems and the element ran almost all the time to get it up to temp.  Once Masterbuilt replaced that unit, my AMNPS worked great.  I still microwave my pellets for 90 seconds before I light them, but I probably don't need to, and also have my chip loader & tray pulled out a little bit.  If I had it to do again, the only change I would make would be to buy a propane torch to light the pellets.  The smaller butane one I use struggles to get them hot enough. 
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Both of these suggestions work well with the pellets 

    Please do us a favor and update your profile with your location then swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself 
  5. smktr

    smktr Newbie

    I have not pulled the chip tray loader out yet.  I will on my next smoke and report back
  6. smktr

    smktr Newbie

    I haven't had any problems with the element running full-time.  I lucked out with the two that I got, I suppose, as both came with the full-size chip tray as well.  Has pre-heating the pellets given you better results?  I've used a propane torch and have no problems lighting the pellets, and they are smoking pretty well when I put them in the smoker, but then go out.  Now that it's been suggested, allowing more airflow by pulling the chip tray loader out an inch makes a lot of sense........
  7. I had problems keeping my AMNPS lit when I was using a butane torch to light it. I switched to using a propane torch to make it easier. One tip is to blast the pellets with the propane flame really really well until you think they are properly lit. After you think the pellets are properly lit, blast the pellets some more.  Also, let the flaming pellets burn for a while before blowing them out and placing the AMNPS inside the smoker. I find that about an inch length of hot coals ensures that they do not go out, as long as there is enough air in the smoker. Just scorching the pellets won't keep them burning as well. That is my experience anyway...
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  8. I use the small propane tip that Todd included when i bought my AMNPS and blast it real good, even sticking the nozzel up in the pellets to get it going good.  Then i let it burn for at least 10 minutes before puttin out the flame.

    Make sure that you pull the  chip tray out some.  you also might consider removing the chip loader, just to make sure that it is getting enough air.

    Also consider putting some type of chimmney on top to help with drawing the air through better, and make sure you keep the top vent fully open.
  9. da maxx

    da maxx Fire Starter

    smktr, I agree with others here. Pull the chip tray out, all the way til the door can close. Then pull the chip loader about 1.5 to 2 inches, maybe all the way with your altitude. Also ensure that the drippings are not falling on the pellets. I also use a 3 inch 90 degree elbow on the vent for more drafting. The AMNPS has worked 12 hrs flawlessly.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    How full you load the AMNPS seems to matter. If the pellet desity is too low they seem to go out easier. Also as mentioned get them going good. The torch should start the pellets on fire. Let that fire burn for a min of 5 minutes. If the flame goes out, blow on the pellets until it ignites again. I pull the Chip Pan and Loader out 1". Here is a pick of my set up, I have zero problems now...JJ

  11. smktr

    smktr Newbie

    Thank you for all the advice!  I will pull the chip tray out as much as I can while still being able to shut the door, as well as pull the chip loader out an inch or two to increase the airflow.  Finally, I will use a soup can to add the chimney on top of the smoker.  I will report back with the results after my next smoke...

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